The next fashion generation is here.
Ask any designer about their road to success, and they will almost always tell you that it wasn’t linear. That’s why, when it came time to design a trophy for the first-ever Fashion Trust US awards, jeweler Ana Khouri created a twisted and folded sculpture of fair-mined gold and platinum, meant to reflect a creator’s path from inspiration to realization.
Last night, at the GOYA Studios in Los Angeles, six emerging designers took home the awards. They were selected out of a group of 15 finalists by a board that includes some of the most influential voices in the fashion industry, including Harper’s Bazaar editor-in-chief Samira Nasr. The Fashion Trust US, a non-profit, aims to champion and support designers, many from underrepresented backgrounds, as they try to scale their businesses and grow their brand.
Designer Aisling Camps, whose designs have been worn by Michelle Obama, Jennifer Aniston, and Zendaya, originally studied mechanical engineering at Columbia before discovering a love of knitwear. She took home the St John Knits Award for Ready-to-Wear, presented by St John Knits global CEO Andy Lew and tennis legend Maria Sharapova. In her acceptance speech, Camps mentioned her small Brooklyn studio, where many of her pieces are handmade with yarn sourced directly from Italy, “I’m in a room with all these amazing people…I spend so much of my time in a 350-square-foot room with knitting machines.”
Jewelry brand L’Enchanteur is described as a “creative incubator inspired by science, color theory, mysticism, folklore, numerology, and healing.” When Lenny Kravitz won the CFDA’s Icon Award last year, he was notably dripping in L’Enchanteur jewels. Founded by twins Soull and Dynasty Ogun, the Brooklyn-based brand won the Jewelry Award, presented by actor Tracee Ellis Ross. Soull and Dynasty started their brand with the goal of incorporating spirituality into everything they create. They both had formal jobs in design at 3.1 Phillip Lim, but their creative careers began much earlier; as children, they would transform their mother’s hair decorations into jewelry.
The Graduate award, sponsored by Google and presented by Law Roach, went to Papa Oppong, a 31-year-old from Ghana with a MFA in Fashion Design from the Fashion Institute. He seeks to demonstrate that Africa can be as influential in fashion as the rest of the world, and was named one of 15 young Africans re-branding the continent by Forbes.
Designer Jacques Agbobly, whose colorful brand Agbobly was formerly known as Black Boy Knits, won the Inclusivity Award. Elena Velez, known for creating provocative clothes inspired by her time working as a metalsmith in Wisconsin, won the Sustainability Award.
In the process of judging, the FTUS panel — made up of Harper’s Bazaar editor-in-chief Samira Nasr, Tania Fares, Laura Brown, Anne Crawford, Tan France, Karla Welch, and representatives from Google — decided to create a Google Creativity Award for Puppets and Puppets. Singer Ciara and designer Mike Amiri presented it to designer Carly Mark.
While a designer’s path is never easy, the insiders behind Fashion Trust US are doing their part to make sure new talent is supported within the industry. FTUS board member Tan France wrote on Instagram following the event, “We can’t wait to see where these prizes take you.” Neither can we.